East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust’s 2020 AGM week saw a record-breaking number of people take part in a series of sessions which were hosted digitally for the first time.
The trust – which runs Hertford County Hospital, Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood and the New QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City – held six online webinars between 13-17 July on subjects including cancer services, digital innovation, how patients, families and carers are being supported, and celebrating the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
Last year around 250 people attended the trust’s annual general meeting, which brings together the public and patients with staff and partner organisations to discuss the big healthcare topics.
But the coronavirus pandemic meant a different approach was required, with a one-off public meeting replaced with five days of virtual activity which saw just shy of 470 people tune in – beating the previous record of 400 attendees in 2014.
As well as having the ability to view slides and take part in polls, participants could also ask questions in real time and vote for their favourites – with more than 100 questions asked and almost 400 upvotes in total.
Along with highlighting areas for improvement, the week was an opportunity to celebrate success – including ending the financial year with a surplus of £800,000 – the first time this has happened since 2013/14.
Trust chief executive Nick Carver, who hosted the main AGM event in the middle of the week alongside trust chair Ellen Schroder, said: “Doing something differently always presents a challenge, but the week proved a real success and showed how the use of technology can bring us together – even when we must stay apart.
“To have around 470 people to take part in important conversations about the trust is fantastic – thank you to everyone who joined us and for those who have shared their feedback.
“The ability for the public to ask questions in real time and vote for their favourites added another dimension to our AGM, and we aim to deliver the best of virtual and real next year, circumstances permitting.”
All the sessions will be available to watch online, just visit www.enherts-tr.nhs.uk/annual-general-meeting.